Thanks for the reply. I haven't really been paying too much attention to the science of solar activity until recently when I began hearing about solar cycle 24. What I had been hearing was that solar activity has been low, so temperatures should have been decreasing, but it looks like as you posted, solar activity has really been very high and I have read papers where there is a 10-year lag.<quoted text>
Our sun has been in very high activity. The last half of the 20th century is now being considered the Modern Solar Maximum. It was at the highest levels recorded in the last 400 years and in the top 10% of all activity reconstructed with proxy data during the Holocene.
The above images essentially say the same thing, but the scales are different. The first looks at solar activity from the standpoint of wm2 the second is recording sun spot numbers. One of the most important things to recognize is how solar activity increased at both the upper and lower end of the scale. When it was high it was very high and when it was low, well it didn't get very low. The fact that solar activity didn't get very low in the minimums between cycles is very significant.
When you read that solar activity did not increase or even that it declined, that's right. Since we started mechanically measuring TSI in 1979 solar activity has been high. It had increased to very high levels and in cycle 23 we saw the start of the decline. Cycle 24 continues the decline and it is predicted that cycle 25 will be even lower.
The following chart is from Ilya G. Usoskin, Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory (Oulu unit), University of Oulu, Finland
It shows our current era to have very high activity in comparison to the majority of the Holocene.
There is a lag time between solar activity and climate. Although the sun is our primary source of energy, it's real impact on climate is through the oceans. The oceans absorb the energy and distribute it throughout the system. The lag time is stated in different variables but 10 years is commonly used.
Every ocean has oscillations. When solar activity is high it enhances the positive phases of the ocean oscillations. It was high at the same time the Pacific oscillation was in it's positive phase, starting in 1976/77. When this happens the El Ninos are enhanced and the La Ninas are mitigated. Now solar energy is low and the Pacific oscillation is in a negative phase. La Ninas rule in this senario.
The arctic also has oscillations that are impacted by solar activity and when it is positive it impacts the glacier mass balance in Europe. As the ENSO impacts North American glacier mass balance.
So why do the alarmists keep saying the solar activity diverges from "reality" over the last 35 years? Because it looks like the temperatures are actually following the solar cycles.
Here is what skeptical science said about solar activity:
Over the last 35 years the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. However global temperatures have been increasing. Since the sun and climate are going in opposite directions scientists conclude the sun cannot be the cause of recent global warming.
The only way to blame the sun for the current rise in temperatures is by cherry picking the data. This is done by showing only past periods when sun and climate move together and ignoring the last few decades when the two are moving in opposite direction.
What do you think about them saying the last 2 decades are moving in opposite directions?